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via BQThe Importance of Team-Building in the Workplace

Are you worried that your employees and management teams are failing to work well together, resulting in low morale in the workplace? Organising a team-building activity outside of the office could make for a great solution, resulting in productive, efficient, motivated and all-round happy staff members throughout your business.
In fact, here’s three reasons why you should consider making team-building a key part of your business plan:

Team Building

1. It encourages team work

Almost three quarters (70 per cent) of respondents to a study set up by the University of Phoenix have stated that they feel they’re part of a dysfunctional team. Meanwhile, research by Gallup suggests that poorly managed work groups are on average 50 per cent less productive and 44 per cent less profitable.

Facts and figures like these underline the importance of getting teams to work together as much as possible. Team-building events will do this, as they teach participants about how working together will improve the efficiency of all members involved – for example, how one team member can help another one’s weakness.

Team Building

2. It improves communication

A lack of collaboration or ineffective communication has been linked to 86 per cent of all workplace failures cited by employees and executives, a survey reported on by ClearCompany has revealed. A study by HerdWisdom also detailed that 33 per cent of employees believe a lack of open and honest communication will have the most negative impact on employee morale.

Effective communication is an important part of team-building events, as members of a group must talk and discuss options in order to solve a problem that they’ve encountered. Communicating in these scenarios could lead to barriers being broken — employees being shy to talk to each other for instance — which then carries through when staff members are back in the workplace.

Team Building

3. It increases engagement

Did you know that employees who have a high engagement level are 87 per cent less likely to leave a company than those who have a low engagement level? That’s according to research reported on by Officevibe when they were looking into statistics related to disengaged employees.

Mark Jones, the managing director of conference centre and hotel venue Wyboston Lakes, was also keen to add: “Any organisation will benefit from an engaged workforce; employees that are committed, passionate and inspired by their performance will of course generate superior customer service and increased profitability.”

Team-building days are likely to boost engagement among colleagues, as they bond with each other while working together. Friendships could also develop during these events too, with research by Gallup claiming that having a close friend at work can increase engagement by 50 per cent.

via Huffington Post : Teamwork Is What Separates the Good From Great Companies

As a team and workplace specialist, I believe teams are at the heart of every successful organization. If you think about today’s workplace, everyone is working in some form of a team whether it’s a team of two or twenty. It could be a sales team, global team, admin team, engineering team, leadership team or project team. The bottom line is that an organization thrives when teamwork is at its best.

There are plenty of books on the topic about what makes a high performing team or how to get the most of team members. This isn’t rocket science and yet, many companies struggle with how to work collaboratively and effectively together. How often have you heard people talk about being part of a team but not “feeling” like a team?

Over the past twenty years working with thousands of diverse teams across various industries, led me to conclude that the best teamwork is a group of people working together for the greater good of the team – meaning, that each person is willing to forgo their own ego, and make decisions that are truly in the best interest of the team vs their own best interest. This requires a heightened awareness of self and others. Furthermore, the most successful teams – think Olympic teams, like the women’s soccer team or the World Series Baseball team, each player shows up playing at their absolute best, energized, engaged and fully committed to the team goal. To anchor this thought further, Phil Jackson, considered one of the greatest coaches in NBA history said, “The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.” That’s a powerful statement if you stop and think about what it means. When each person shows up using their strengths, are energized and genuinely collaborating as a team, they are naturally more productive, engaged and performing at their best. Conversely, when one person doesn’t show up and perform or is unwilling to put their own interests aside for the greater good, it negatively impacts the rest of the team. We’ve all experienced this at one time or another, and in fact, we’ve all been the person who isn’t performing. No one person can make the entire team great or successful over the long term, it’s the combined expertise and efforts of every team member that enables a team and company to thrive.

Jessica Gaines, Business Committee for the Arts Coordinator, Americans for the Arts, shared a great example of a company who takes teamwork to a whole other level. ShoreTel, a Sunnyvale, CA-based global telecommunications vendor, organized and hosted a Battle of the Bands for its employees. They put together the bands that competed, funded music lessons to ensure they were prepared to perform, and even provided music rooms where employees could rock out at the office. Needless to say, it was a huge hit, pun intended, and cleverly integrated a form of art into the teambuilding activity. That’s thinking way outside the box.

If you don’t want to go that far out of the box, then at the very least, be sure your team has a clear mission and goals that each team member buys into so that they have a vested interest in the overall success of the team. Also, inject some fun activities along the way to provide opportunities for team members to build trust and stronger working relationships which makes it easier to solve future challenges.

Effective teamwork is good for business. Stronger relationships between team members, greater job satisfaction, energized employees and a more engaged workforce are just a few of the benefits. The accumulation of good talent is what produces great team results. When team members meet their goals, everyone wins. I’ve seen this first-hand, when team members are having fun, more aware, leverage their strengths, and are laser-focused on team results, they ultimately create a continuous positive impact. This leads to a culture of high performance, greater well-being and happy customers inside and outside the organization.

Companies who value teamwork understand that their organizational success is tied to how well their team members work collaboratively to achieve the overall goals. Producing excellent results and delivering value to your customers is what energizes your company culture. So, what can you do to invigorate your team?

About the Author: Michelle Burke is a Communication, Workplace and Team Specialist, published Author, Consultant, and Speaker. She is CEO of The Energy Catalyst Group dedicated to creating more positive and energized workplaces by helping teams be more collaborative, engaged and achieve peak performance. Her years’ experience working with Fortune 100, 500 companies, established her as a leading expert in bridging communication, gender and cultural gaps. She consults with clients using her 3-A Model: Awareness, Accountability and (purposeful) Action to focus on increasing individual, team and organizational energy. Clients include Stanford University, Microsoft, Visa, Disney, Sony, Receptos, Lanza Hair Care, Genentech, HTC, and Sony PlayStation. Michelle authored, The Valuable Office Professional, was featured in Business Week’s Frontier Magazine, LA Times, SF Chronicle, and Wall Street Journal. Her articles have been in Training, HR, and Chief Learning Officer Magazines. She also co-created Personalogy™ game that made Amazon’s Top 100 Best Selling Card Games of 2015. Please connect with her Michelle@energycatalystgroup.com.

Via LinkedIn : Having been a journalist for much of my adult life, I can say with certainty that exercising complete objectivity is extremely hard to achieve, whether you’re reporting a story or evaluating the talent of a potential hire. How you feel about someone personally, how you respond to the vibe they give off, is almost impossible to remove from the equation.

I’m particularly aware of this every year around this time when the BBWAA (the Baseball Writers’ Association of America) votes on which former Major League Baseball greats (retired at least five years) will be elected to the Hall of Fame. For the players whose statistics are unquestionably great (and were not at the epicenter of the steroids storm) entry is all but assured: pitchers with 300+ wins, hitters with 500+ home runs, etc. In the workplace, the equivalent would be making Dean’s List at a prestigious university or years of distinguished service at a top-flight company.

But that’s rarified air, and let’s face it, many of us are not flashing those kinds of gaudy statistics on our resume. For us mere mortals in the workplace, our likability factor becomes a big consideration. Because, do you know what that hiring manager is asking him/herself after your work experience and education have been noted? “Is this the kind of person my team is going to want to be elbow-to-elbow with for more waking hours than they spend with their spouses?” The smaller the office, the bigger that factor becomes. So don’t dismiss the importance of your overall likability.

Here are some simple ways to not shortchange yourself in that department:

Ditch the Bitchy Resting Face. Most of us are unaware of how dour and disapproving our default facial expression is when we are listening to someone else. I’m not suggesting you have a frozen, toothy grin at all times – that looks fake. But sport an engaged, interested closed-mouthed quarter smile when others speak to you. It’s the simplest way for them to have positive feelings about interacting with you.

Give the Bitching a Rest. Even if your former employer was slightly less understanding than North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, don’t bring your tales of woe to a job interview or a new company and hold regular gripe fests. Negativity weighs on an office culture and can bring everyone else down. If there’s a problem at work, strive to fix it through creative solutions instead of whining and moaning about it.

It’s Not About You. The best way to get hired and get promoted is to show that you’re constantly thinking of ways to make the company better, preferably in a way that more substantive contributions from you would be necessary. If you can prove that your ideas would result in greater performance and productivity, then your raise should pay for itself. Remember, nobody owes you anything. The least likely reason to get promoted these days is because “it’s your turn.”

Have Your Colleagues’ Backs. Try to go one month without saying anything critical about your co-workers. Then try stretching it to two, and so on. I bet you’ll like the results. Getting pulled into water cooler gossip can happen so easily. Rather than piling on, try pointing out an invaluable quality the target of the gossip possesses and say, “Listen, say what you will about (name) but when it’s chaos and crunch time around here, she’s the last one to buckle under the pressure,” or whatever their attribute may be.

These are the kind of people others want to work next to and have shape that all-important company culture.

So what does this have to do with the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame? Well, for those players who statistics didn’t make them a lock to get in, their likability , or lack thereof, played a role in keeping them out. If you are skeptical, just ask players like Jeff Kent and Albert Belle who are still not members and Jim Rice who was forced to wait many more years than someone the baseball writers might have thought was a “good guy.” The toxicity they brought to work with them did not go unnoticed or unpunished.

I’m just one of many people who once believed that the workplace is a strict meritocracy. “Oh, I got that job because I was likely the strongest candidate.” That naive bubble burst for me many years after my first big break in television. I was sitting with my former boss over a beer when I decided to ask him why he had hired me over other candidates for a coveted position.

“You really want to know,” he asked.

“Absolutely,” I replied.

“Cause I figured you were a nice young kid who wouldn’t give me any shit.”

I’ve never forgotten that.

Source : LINKEDIN | MLB Hall of Fame Voting Proves It: Likability at Work Matters

Via LinkedIn : Generational gaps have always existed in the workplace and managing them is a perpetual topic of debate, concern, and learning. I often wonder whether we over complicate this gap and our conversations concerning it. The current conversation revolves around Gen Y – the Echo Boomers – the generation now formally known as Millennials. You do not have to look very far to find a fount of information, assistance, and commentary related to our largest generational population on the planet. Viewpoints, counterviews, stereotypes, generalisations, and of course the real truth claims of this ever-elusive generation abound. Are Millennials really so elusive and should our quest to “sort them out” be so unidirectional? No magic wizarding map or cynical Swiftian satire needed. My proposal is indeed modest and perhaps best stated as a simple and uncomplicated approach to bridging generational gaps and increasing our organisations’ capacity for individual and collective effectiveness.Via

I believe that the basic tenants of addressing the myriad of Millennial concerns that surround us are, at a root level, the same as they are for all the gaps preceding this moment in time and all those that will succeed it. Localised conversations aimed at seeking to understand. Not globalised, overarching conversations, that assume all 90+ million Millennials (or any generation) will act the same and expect the same. Rather conversations within an organisation, a department, a team to uncover what it is that makes those individuals tick.

Through my work for Impact I’ve been bringing together older generation leaders and Millennials for a few years now, to have robust conversations concerning the generational gap. Topics of conversation tend to be focused on debunking assumptions, exploring ways to work more effectively together and understanding leadership needs. The message and the learning I continually capture from these interactions is the need to engage in grassroots conversations that challenge and align perceptions. This serves to uncover the real motivation behind behaviours – the behaviours that end up the targets of generational stereotypes and generalisations.

The stereotypes and generalised advice approach will not solve our generational gap dilemmas. One size does not fit all when it comes to understanding individuals, no matter what their generation. An effective way forward, therefore, is a grassroots approach. Begin, support, and encourage the bringing together of individuals in your organisation. Want your different generations to work more effectively together? The solution lies in enabling these smaller dialogues to happen throughout the organisation, not from a focus on overgeneralised generational traits that we should fight against, or simply accept. Are there exceptions to the rule? Will we encounter shining examples of the stereotypes? Absolutely. More often than not, however, I have found that if we have these grassroots conversations with intent we learn far more about how we can work together better. Engage in intentional dialogue to explore perceptions and stereotypes.

A recurring example I experience is the perception that older generation leaders have of the Millennial tendency to ask lots of questions and have skip-level conversations.

Older generation leaders formulate assumptions that this behavior means that these Millennials are trying to climb the corporate ladder too quickly, that they are gunning for the leader’s job and that they have a general disrespect for authority. What these leaders discover through grassroots conversations is that the reality for most of these Millennials is that they are curious learners who feel that with more information and transparency they can be far more productive employees. Millennials are the socially minded eco-friendly champions of the sharing economy. It’s therefore no surprise that they want a seat at the table and want to be having conversations with the boss’s boss. Doing so without understanding the other side of the equation and without their own understanding of the leaders they report to causes trouble. When these two groups engage in conversation that allows them to explore these behaviours, desires and expectations they often realise that they remain dedicated to the same end game – quality deliverables and a healthy, profitable organisation. In discovering this common ground they set them selves up for greater understanding, collaboration, and effectiveness.

Will this solve all of our generational gap struggles? Will this address all of the nuances that the Millennials bring to the changing and shifting workforce of the future? No. Without this crucial approach though – I fear it will be a journey more difficult then it needs to be. Hopefully we can all find the courage to have these intentional grassroots conversations. To bring transparency to generation gaps and to challenge the differences we hold onto like a crutch supporting our often misguided and uninformed assumptions. Give it a shot. I’d love to hear how it goes and what you discover.

Via Forbes : ‘My kids have just thrown up and three planes have broken. We’ve now been delayed two days. This is a nightmare. The worst thing is the airline staff don’t seem to care.’

This is the message I got from a colleague when bad weather and broken machinery had left him and his family stranded. It’s the opposite of what business leaders want, which is for their team to ‘go the extra mile’ and deliver great service whatever the weather . Psychologists call going the extra mile – doing things like helping out a colleague, mentoring new recruits, or taking responsibility to solve an unusual customer problem – Organizational Citizenship Behavior (OCB). OCB can make the difference between a great organizational culture and a terrible one. So, if you want a great organizational culture, it’s useful to know what helps and hinders OCB .

Two recent studies have come back with one theme that stops OCB: exhaustion. The pace of change in today’s organizations is a drain on employees’ emotional and mental resources, leaving them with little left to contribute above and beyond the demands of their job. This is especially true, the research suggests, in industries that require people to fake their emotions, such as customer service.

‘Surface acting’ – where employees hide their true feelings or fake positive emotions, is linked to greater exhaustion at the end of the day, which then negatively impacts on OCB. One study, entitled “Too drained to help”, asked administrative employees to fill out a survey twice a day for 10 days, measuring their levels of surface acting (‘faking it’) in the afternoon and then end-of-day exhaustion. They also asked employees to rate their performance that day, in comparison to an average day, and had a close colleague monitor how much that person helped out their colleagues.

The results found that surface acting throughout the day predicated exhaustion, and the more exhausted employees felt at the end of the day the less likely they were to go the extra mile to help out their colleagues. There was no link between surface acting, exhaustion and self-rated performance. The study also found that the negative relationship between exhaustion and OCB was especially pronounced for employees who were chronically exhausted, supporting the idea that OCB drains mental and emotional resources. When people are tired, they shut down – directing their attention to the task at hand, as opposed to helping out their colleagues or tending to stranded customers.

Sounds obvious, but it has important implications. Often business leaders see the answer to customer service as equipping staff with ‘people skills’ – teaching them how to forge better relationships and ultimately ‘fake it ’til they make it’. This study suggests that actually they’d be better off helping employees build their emotional resilience, so that when the going gets tough they have enough regulatory resources to help each other out as well as carry out their duties.

But it’s not all down to individuals. The climate that leaders create also has a significant influence on a team TISI -0.86%’s level of OCB. The second study, called “Well, I’m tired of tryin’” focused on what the researchers termed “citizenship fatigue” – a feeling of being worn out and on edge as a result of going the extra mile. Unsurprisingly, such fatigue makes people less inclined to go above and beyond in the future.

The study, which looked at faculty members at a Taiwanese university over a seven-month period, found three factors which affect citizenship fatigue.

The extent to which employees feel like they are supported by their company. When that support is low, OCB is more likely to lead to citizenship fatigue.
The quality of interpersonal relationships and cooperation between team members. When employees have strong relationships and look out for each other, there is a negative relationship between OCB and fatigue – presumably because people expect their efforts to be reciprocated later.
Pressure to engage in OCB – when there’s low pressure and employees go the extra mile because they find it personally rewarding, OCB is less likely to lead to citizenship fatigue.

“Organizations that continually encourage employees to go beyond the call of duty should be aware that while this may work in the short run, employees may eventually deplete the resources needed to achieve both high levels of task performance and OCB ,” summarized the study’s authors.

There’s little leaders can do to slow down the pace and reduce demands on their employees. So leaders’ efforts are better spent on equipping employees with the capability to cope with demands, create a supportive environment with high-quality relationships between peers and inspire people to be good organizational citizens. This will help create an environment where people go the extra mile even with bad weather and broken planes.